Barnesy says it’s forever
JIMMY Barnes reckons he will never get sick of singing the same hits, night after night.
‘‘Luckily for me, Khe Sanh is a great song. There a lot of worse songs that are great hits others have to keep playing,’’ he says.
‘‘I am a music fan. If I see a band I want to see the songs that I love.’’
The frontman for famed Australian band Cold Chisel joined the band when he was 16 – exactly 40 years ago.
‘‘It has been an amazing journey,’’ says Barnes.
Cold Chisel has released more than a dozen albums over the years, featuring some of Australia’s favourite songs – Khe Sanh, Flame Trees and Cheap Wine and Saturday Night.
Barnes has an equal amount of solo albums under his belt but at 56, he feels he’s yet to reach his peak.
‘‘I will be playing music for as long as I enjoy it and people love it,’’ he says.
‘‘I feel now I am singing better and I have more control with my age and treachery. I feel like I am more focused and I have the benefit of hindsight and a strong catalogue behind me. I want to keep getting better as a performer. And I want to be a better human being.’’
Barnes admits that in some ways, age has caught up with him.
‘‘When I was young, I used to drink two bottles of vodka a night. Now if I did that the show would suffer,’’ he says.
‘‘When I did it in the old days I got away with it. If I dived off stage now I would like look an idiot.’’
Focused on his singing and performance, Barnes says his shows are ‘‘more intense in a different way’’.
‘‘I am looking forward to bigger and better things,’’ he says.
‘‘If I keep striving for that, it will keep reflecting in my show. I want to connect with the audience better. To feel the band. I do that so much better now.’’
While Barnes’ gritty vocals are the driving force behind Chisel’s sound, he says it’s the chemistry between the members that makes the band work.
‘‘There’s something about the way I sing – I don’t know if they could find another singer that could do it,’’ he says.
‘‘It would be difficult to find someone who plays like Ian Moss. The chemistry between the players is what makes us so unique.’’
After 40 years of playing together, Barnes says Cold Chisel are like family.
‘‘They are all like my brothers. We fight like brothers and make up like brothers,’’ he says.
‘‘We are family. Sure we can disagree – in the old days it used to be physical. It still gets heated. But it’s mostly great.’’
– ROSE SADLEIR
The Red Hot Summer Tour, featuring Jimmy Barnes, Baby Animals, Ian Moss, Dragon and Chocolate Starfish, plays Harrigan’s Drift Inn, at Jacobs Well, on May 5.